As a young girl, Delilah is brought to the Temple of Atargatis in Ascalon, one of the Five Cities of Philistia in Canaan. There she trains to be a priestess, along with Aylah, whom Delilah befriends when the girl is bought at a bazaar and brought to the Temple.
Meanwhile, as word of the almost superhuman strength of the young Samson spreads, the Israelites become convinced that he is the man to lead them in rebellion, despite Samson’s own peaceful nature. When Samson comes to Ascalon and is instantly smitten with Delilah, the High Priestess of the Temple and the Prince of the City determine to use first Aylah, and then Delilah herself, to destroy Samson.
Told in the first person by Delilah and through the eyes of several other characters in third-person chapters, this is a compelling tale of intrigue and betrayal, told in lyrical but highly readable prose. Knowing little about this time period, I found the early part of the story, about Delilah’s upbringing in the Temple and her life as a priestess, to be fascinating. If there was a weak spot for me, it was in the love story between Delilah and Samson, which seemed underdeveloped compared to what seemed to be the more deeply felt friendships between Delilah and Aylah and between Samson and the harper Orev. Still, I’ll be reading more of Edghill’s novels in the future.